Introduction: Change Your Game - Design a Stadium

About: Spark!Lab is a hands -on invention studio in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Spark!Lab activities communicate that invention is a process, rather than a single “Aha!” moment; provide vi…

Welcome to the Change Your Game / Spark!Lab digital activity space. In this space you are the inventor who exercises your inventive creativity though sports focused invention challenges.

Design a stadium with virtual materials. Using Tinkercad, you can delete, reshape, duplicate and create new parts.


  • Free Tinkercad account
  • Your Inventive creativity
  • "CYGDesign a Stadium" parts from Spark!Lab's Tinkercad designs

Step 1: Invention Is a Process

Invention is a Process

There are just two things to keep in mind as you design your stadium:

1. The invention process is not always linear, but inventors engage in these steps in some form or another.

"Think it" : Have a great idea for an invention.

"Explore it": Investigate inventions and ideas of the past.

"Sketch it": Draw pictures and diagrams to figure out how your invention might work.

"Create It": Build a prototype or model of your idea.

"Try It": Test your invention.

"Tweak It": Keep improving your idea.

"Share It": Get your idea out there for others to see, use or purchase.

2. Everyone is inventive- and we do mean everyone! Today, you get to put your creative problem solving to action as you express your inventive identity. By tapping into your inventive ability, you make it possible to have an impact. You make it possible to change your game. 

Step 2: Think It

The first step of the invention process is to "think it." This involves identifying a problem you would like to solve, or imagining something you plan to create.

To get started you can ask yourself, "What will my idea do? What problem does it solve? How will my idea improve what currently exists?

Here are some things you may want to think about when designing your stadium.

What sports or events will take place in your stadium? Where will it be located? Who will use it? How will your idea be new and different?

Step 3: Explore It

The next step of the invention process is to "explore it.” Inventors ask: “How have inventors created solutions in the past?” and then conduct research to learn more about the problem they would like to solve, or the idea they would like to create. This is done to understand solutions that may already exist. They learn from what others have tried and make sure that their solutions are new or different.

There are many ways to enjoy entertainment. One way is to be there as an event is happening live. Sporting Events, plays, and concerts all provide entertainment. Sometimes people build special structures, or stadiums, to allow large crowds of people to enjoy a live event. Explore the links below to learn more about stadiums and stadium design.

Explore the links below as part of your inventive path:

Step 4: Sketch It

Inventors use sketching as a way to organize their ideas.

Drawing an idea allows inventors to imagine what their invention might look like and how it will work. Try sketching out your inventive idea before building! Take some time to sketch your ideas, images, and thoughts about how a stadium should be designed.

You can sketch your ideas with paper and pencil our use any means of expression that is comfortable for you. Remember! Inventors rarely get it right on the first try. Whatever the method, you may need to undo and re-do your invention as you continue to think through how you want to solve the problem.

Step 5: Create It

Now it is time to build a prototype of your invention idea. In this step, inventors get to see their idea turn into something real. Building a model can help you learn about any issues there are with their invention design. Your prototype will show the size, shape, and form of your stadium.

In what ways will you use these virtual materials to design a stadium? What will your stadium look like? What types of sports or events could happen in your venue?

"As you create your design be sure to use the "Notes" feature in Tinkercad to describe the parts and features of your invention."

Once you have created your design, move on to the Try It step.

Step 6: Try It

Now that you have created your 3D model, take some time to think about how your stadium looks and how it would work for an event.

  • What types of events will happen in your stadium?
  • How many people can your stadium hold?
  • Where will the snack stands and bathrooms be located?
  • Can people in wheelchairs easily move around your stadium?
  • Where would your stadium be built?
  • What types of technology will be used in your stadium?
  • Where will the press and event staff work?
  • Where will the athletes or performers get ready for their game or event?

Share your 3D model and ideas with others. Ask them for their input about your design.

  • What did they like best about your design?
  • What did they think needed improving?
  • What new ideas did you get by sharing your idea with them?

Step 7: Tweak It

Now that you’ve created your stadium, thought about how it would work, and shared your idea with others, it’s time to tweak your inventive ideas! Now is the time to ask yourself, "What changes can I make to improve my stadium?”

Inventors typically don't succeed with an invention on the first try. Inventors make changes to their designs and prototypes to make them work better. Usually, they tweak their ideas many times before they are finished. Once tweaks are made, inventors test their inventions again. It can take many tries to make your ideas work or look the way you imagined they would.

Go back to your design in Tinkercad and tweak it so that it best fits your inventive ideas, meets the needs you hoped it would meet, and has a look you are pleased with.

Step 8: Share It

Sharing your idea is not only about putting it up for sale. Sharing an idea often happens when you present your idea to others after you have made your final tweaks.

Tell us about your invention on social media!

  • Who will use your invention?
  • What makes your invention unique?
  • How does your invention work?

Share your ideas with us on or @lemelsoncenter.